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Publication numberUS20060089966 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/211,093
Publication dateApr 27, 2006
Filing dateAug 25, 2005
Priority dateOct 5, 2004
Also published asCN101040504A, CN101040504B, EP1797692A1, EP1797692B1, US8411580, WO2006037381A1
Publication number11211093, 211093, US 2006/0089966 A1, US 2006/089966 A1, US 20060089966 A1, US 20060089966A1, US 2006089966 A1, US 2006089966A1, US-A1-20060089966, US-A1-2006089966, US2006/0089966A1, US2006/089966A1, US20060089966 A1, US20060089966A1, US2006089966 A1, US2006089966A1
InventorsMats Stille, Fredrik Tystad
Original AssigneeTelefonaktiebolaget Lm Ericsson (Publ)
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Maintaining cached terminal data
US 20060089966 A1
Abstract
A method of maintaining cached Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) terminal capability information at an end user terminal of a telecommunication system, for one or more other end user terminals. The method comprises predefining one or more signalling message properties for signalling messages to be received from peer terminals, and recording the properties at said end user terminal, examining incoming signalling messages received from peer terminals to determine whether or not they possess a predefined property, and if an incoming signalling message does possess a predefined property, reacting by refreshing the cached capability information for the sending terminal.
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Claims(17)
1. A method of maintaining cached information at an end user terminal of a telecommunication system, the cached information comprising information for one or more other end user terminals and/or associated subscribers and the cached information being used to control the establishment of communication channels between terminals, the method comprising:
predefining one or more signalling message properties for signalling messages to be received from peer terminals;
examining incoming signalling messages received from peer terminals to determine whether or not they possess a predefined property; and
if an incoming signalling message does possess a predefined property, reacting by refreshing the cached information for the sending terminal.
2. A method according to claim 1, the method comprising initially populating the cache for each other end user terminal at the first communication with that other terminal.
3. A method according to claim 1, wherein said predefined properties comprise a combination of message type and message content.
4. A method according to claim 1, wherein said cached information is capability information.
5. A method according to claim 3, wherein said cached information is capability information and said message content is content which is indicative of a change in the capabilities of the terminal and/or subscriber from whom the message is sent.
6. A method according to claim 4, wherein said step of refreshing the cached capability information for the sending terminal comprises updating the cache entry for that terminal with information contained in a received message and/or sending a capability request to the sending terminal and refreshing the cache based upon the contents of the response.
7. A method according to claim 4, wherein said predefined signalling message properties comprise one or more of the following:
a connection initiation failure message returned in response to a connection initiation request;
a connection initiation request containing or pertaining to capabilities not currently identified in the cached information; and
a message relating to capability negotiation.
8. A method according to claim 4, wherein said capability information comprises Session Initiation Protocol terminal capabilities.
9. A method according to claim 8, wherein Session Initiation Protocol capability information is exchanged between terminals using SIP OPTIONS or INVITE mechanisms.
10. A method according to claim 4, wherein said capability information comprises H.324 terminal capabilities.
11. A method according to claim 1, wherein said predefined message properties are stored at the end user terminal or are implemented by way of executable software code.
12. An end user terminal for use with a telecommunications network, the terminal comprising:
a first memory storing cached information comprising information for one or more other end user terminals and/or associated subscribers; and
processing means for examining incoming signalling messages received from peer terminals to determine whether or not they possess a predefined property, and if an incoming signalling message does possess a predefined property, for performing a refresh of the cached information for the sending terminal.
13. A terminal according to claim 12, said cached information being capability information.
14. A terminal according to claim 12, the terminal being a Session Initiation Protocol enabled terminal.
15. A terminal according to claim 12, the terminal being an H.324 enabled terminal.
16. A terminal according to claim 12 and comprising second memory storing one or more predefined signalling message properties for signalling messages to be received from peer terminals.
17. A method of maintaining cached information at an end user terminal of a telecommunication system, the cached information comprising information for one or more other end user terminals and/or associated subscribers and the cached information being used repeatedly to control the establishment of communication channels between terminals, the method comprising:
predefining one or more signalling message types for signalling messages to be received from peer terminals;
examining incoming signalling messages received from peer terminals to determine whether or not they match one of said predefined types; and
if an incoming signalling message does match one of said predefined types, reacting by refreshing the cached information for the sending terminal.
Description
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority from and the benefit of Swedish patent application number 0402396-6 filed on 5 Oct. 2004 and International patent application number PCT/EP2004/053703 filed on 23rd Dec. 2004, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to an apparatus and method for maintaining the capabilities of communication terminals and in particular, though not necessarily, of Session Initiation Protocol terminals.
  • BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    IP Multimedia (IPMM) services provide a dynamic combination of voice, video, messaging, data, etc. within the same session. By growing the numbers of basic applications and the media which it is possible to combine, the number of services offered to the end users will grow, and the inter-personal communication experience will be enriched. This will lead to a new generation of personalised, rich multimedia communication services, including so-called “combinational IP Multimedia” services which are considered in more detail below.
  • [0004]
    IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is the technology defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to provide IP Multimedia services over 3G mobile communication networks (3GPP TS 23.228 and TS 24.229 Release 5 and Release 6). IMS allows new rich person-to-person (client-to-client) as well as person-to-content (client-to-server) communications over an IP-based network. The IMS makes use of the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to set up and control calls or sessions between user terminals (or user terminals and network servers). The Session Description Protocol (SDP), or other protocol, carried by SIP signalling, is used to describe and negotiate the media components of the session. Other protocols are used for media transmission and control, such as Real-time Transport Protocol and Real-time Transport Control Protocol (RTP/RTCP), Message Session Relay Protocol (MSRP), Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). IMS requires an access network which might be for example a 2G/3G General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)/Packet Switched (PS) network, but which might be some other access network such as fixed broadband or WiFi network. FIG. 1 illustrates schematically how the IMS fits into the mobile network architecture in the case of a GPRS/PS access network.
  • [0005]
    The IMS services which a SIP enabled user terminal can access will depend upon the capabilities of the terminal. For example, a terminal will only be able to make use of a picture sharing service if the terminal has a camera and appropriate photo functionality. SIP, as defined in IETF RFC 3261, provides a so-called SIP OPTIONS mechanism which allows the SIP client of a terminal to determine the capabilities (e.g. supported applications, codecs, etc) of some other terminal. The mechanism requires the sending of a SIP OPTIONS method from a first to a second terminal, and the sending of a response, 200OK, in the reverse direction.
  • [0006]
    It is noted that SIP is applicable to services other than those facilitated by IMS. It is also noted that terminal capability exchange is a requirement of multimedia setup and control protocols other than SIP. For example, the International Telecommunication Union Telecommunications Sector (ITU-T) has defined the standard H.324 which provides a mechanism for capability exchange.
  • [0007]
    It is anticipated that in the very near future SIP functionality will be implemented in mobile cellular terminals. In order to allow subscribers to maximise their use of the available IMS services, this SIP functionality will, sooner or later, include the SIP OPTIONS mechanism. However, the sending of a SIP OPTIONS message and a response between terminals is likely to significantly increase the consumed signalling resources.
  • [0008]
    In order to reduce the SIP signalling requirements, it has been proposed (3GPP TR 23.899 version 0.5.0) to store or “cache” the result of an initial capability query facilitated by SIP OPTIONS, at mobile terminals. The initial capability query may be carried out the first time that a given terminal tries to set up a SIP call to another terminal. For any subsequent call attempts, the calling and called terminals extract information from their respective caches to determine peer capabilities. it is noted that similar proposals have been presented for H.324.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    A problem with the caching approach outlined above is that the cached capability information will become “stale” unless it is refreshed at least occasionally. For example, a subscriber may acquire a new terminal with additional capabilities or take advantage of a software upgrade (or even make use of a terminal with reduced capabilities), or subscribe to new IMS services, and the changes must be conveyed to peer terminals. Unless this is done, there is a danger that signalling resources will be consumed unnecessarily, and that connection attempts will fail even though the peer terminals have the requisite capabilities.
  • [0010]
    A solution to this problem might be to send periodic refresh requests between terminals, e.g. once per month. However, this has two disadvantages. Firstly, it will not react immediately when a terminal's/subscriber's capabilities are changed, and secondly, when capabilities have not changed since the last refresh, unnecessary signalling will be required.
  • [0011]
    These problems are applicable to SIP as well as other multimedia setup and control protocols, which utilise a terminal capability exchange procedure.
  • [0012]
    It is an object of the present invention to overcome or at least mitigate these disadvantages. This is achieved by specifying a number of events at which refresh should be performed. These events are indicative of a change in a terminal's/subscriber's capabilities.
  • [0013]
    According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of maintaining cached capability information at an end user terminal of a telecommunication system, the cached information comprising information for one or more other end user terminals and/or associated subscribers and the cached information being used to control the establishment of communication channels between terminals, the method comprising:
  • [0014]
    predefining one or more signalling message properties for signalling messages to be received from peer terminals;
  • [0015]
    examining incoming signalling messages received from peer terminals to determine whether or not they possess a predefined property; and
  • [0016]
    if an incoming signalling message does possess a predefined property, reacting by refreshing the cached information for the sending terminal.
  • [0017]
    The invention is applicable in particular to a method of refreshing cached terminal and/or subscriber capabilities.
  • [0018]
    Embodiments of the invention result in a refreshing of the cached terminal capabilities when this is needed or there is a likelihood that it is needed. However, refreshing is carried out with a relatively low frequency.
  • [0019]
    Said capability information may comprise one or more of: terminal capabilities, subscription capabilities, access network capabilities, and service network capabilities.
  • [0020]
    Preferably, the method comprises initially populating the cache for each other end user terminal at the first communication between the terminals.
  • [0021]
    Preferably, said predefined properties comprise a combination of message type and message content. More preferably, this message content is content which is indicative of a change in the capabilities of the terminal and/or subscriber from whom the message is sent.
  • [0022]
    Said step of refreshing the cached capability information for the sending terminal may comprise updating the cache entry for that terminal with information contained in the received message and/or sending a capability request to the sending terminal and refreshing the cache based upon the contents of the response.
  • [0023]
    The predefined signalling message properties may comprise one or more of the following:
  • [0000]
    a connection initiation failure message returned in response to a connection initiation request;
  • [0000]
    a connection initiation request containing or pertaining to capabilities not currently identified in the cached information; and
  • [0000]
    a message relating to capability negotiation.
  • [0024]
    Preferably, said predefined properties are recorded at said end user terminal
  • [0025]
    The invention is applicable in particular to the maintenance of capability information in respect of Session Initiation Protocol terminal capabilities. SIP capability information may be conveyed between terminals using SIP OPTIONS, INVITE, or other suitable SIP message. In this case, initial cached information may be obtained via SIP OPTIONS and the SIP response. A connection initiation request may be sent using SIP INVITE.
  • [0026]
    The invention is also applicable to other protocols, for example to H.324, and in particular to 3G-324m.
  • [0027]
    According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided an end user terminal for use with a telecommunications network, the terminal comprising:
  • [0028]
    a first memory storing cached information comprising information for one or more other end user terminals and/or associated subscribers; and
  • [0029]
    processing means for examining incoming signalling messages received from peer terminals to determine whether or not they possess a predefined property, and if an incoming signalling message does possess a predefined property, for performing a refresh of the cached information for the sending terminal.
  • [0030]
    Preferably, the terminal comprises a second memory storing one or more predefined signalling message properties for signalling messages to be received from peer terminals.
  • [0031]
    According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of maintaining cached information at an end user terminal of a telecommunication system, the cached information comprising information for one or more other end user terminals and/or associated subscribers and the cached information being used repeatedly to control the establishment of communication channels between terminals, the method comprising:
  • [0032]
    predefining one or more signalling message types for signalling messages to be received from peer terminals;
  • [0033]
    examining incoming signalling messages received from peer terminals to determine whether or not they match one of said predefined types; and
  • [0034]
    if an incoming signalling message does match one of said predefined types, reacting by refreshing the cached information for the sending terminal.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0035]
    FIG. 1 illustrates schematically the IMS architecture within a 3G network; and
  • [0036]
    FIG. 2 is a flow diagram illustrating a method of refreshing cached terminal capabilities at a mobile terminal;
  • [0037]
    FIG. 3 is a flow diagram illustrating a modified method of refreshing cached terminal capabilities at a mobile terminal.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS
  • [0038]
    For the purpose of illustration, one might consider a subscriber who is in possession of a new 3G (i.e. UMTS) terminal (or alternatively a GSM terminal. Assuming that the terminal comprises a SIP terminal application, the subscriber will have the option of establishing a SIP call to peer SIP enabled terminals. The exact nature of the SIP connections that can be established will depend a) upon the capabilities of both the subscriber's new terminal, and upon the capabilities of peer terminals, and, optionally, b) upon the services for which the subscribers registered, and, optionally, c) upon the capabilities of the access network serving the subscriber terminals.
  • [0039]
    The subscriber's terminal sets aside an area of random access memory to be used for caching peer terminal capability information. Initially, the area will be empty. Consider the case where the subscriber makes a conventional circuit switched (CS) voice call to a peer subscriber for the first time. Assuming that the CS call request is answered by the peer terminal, a CS call will be established in the usual way. Depending upon the way in which SIP is implemented, the calling terminal may then examine the cache to see if it contains the telephone number of the called party, and will determine that it does not. The called party's telephone number will then be entered into the cache. A capability exchange procedure is then conducted between the two terminals. This involves the sending of a SIP OPTIONS message, or equivalent message, from the calling terminal to the called terminal. This will typically include the capabilities of the calling terminal. In response, the called terminal returns a 200 OK message containing its capabilities. The calling terminal will then store the received capabilities in its cache, together with the calling party's telephone number. The called terminal acts in the same way. The previously cached data will be overwritten.
  • [0040]
    It is noted that the terminals will cache all capabilities received in the OPTIONS message or in the response, including unknown capabilities, i.e. those which a receiving terminal does not understand because it is not as advanced terminal as the remote terminal. It is also noted that the certain nodes within the IMS, such as the Serving Call State Control Function (S-CSCF) node or a SIP Application Server (AS), may be involved in the capability negotiation and, in some cases, may check and change SIP messages in transit to ensure that the exchanged capabilities correctly reflect the capabilities of the IMS (it is possible that an IMS may not support certain advanced features provided on a user terminal) and the services to which a subscriber has subscribed.
  • [0041]
    According to the approach described above, the capability exchange is conducted prior to any SIP connection initiation. This approach facilitates the fast setup of connections once initiated. However, another approach would be to conduct the capability exchange at SIP connection initiation. Whilst the SIP OPTIONS message and response procedure may still be used, capability exchange may be carried out using the SIP INVITE message. Capability negotiation may also be triggered by other events. For example, the default may be to conduct this negotiation only at SIP connection initiation, with this being overridden by an early negotiation in the event that a subscriber takes some action which is indicative that a connection is likely to be established, e.g. taking a photograph during a voice call. Capability negotiation may be carried out using SIP messages other than OPTIONS and INVITE.
  • [0042]
    Assume now that, following termination of the initial CS call, the subscriber makes a further call to the same peer subscriber. The capabilities of that peer subscriber's terminal will be stored in the cache, together with his or her telephone number. Following establishment of the CS call, the calling terminal determines that this is the case, and does not attempt a new capability negotiation unless one of the circumstances described below arises. Any attempt to establish a SIP connection during the voice call will make use of the cached capabilities (at both terminals). The likelihood is that the requested SIP connection will be established, with a significant saving in signalling resources.
  • [0043]
    The user terminals are however primed with a number of events which, when they occur and are detected, will trigger a further terminal capability negotiation and, if appropriate, 3 refresh of the capability cache. Examples of these events are:
      • 1. Originating SIP Invitation failure
      • A sent SIP session invitation fails due to non-supported capability at the receiving terminal, signalled by the receipt of a SIP error message at the sending terminal. This could happen due to the remote end user temporarily or permanently changing his or her terminal for a less capability-rich terminal. The terminal which sent the invitation shall refresh its cache by sending a SIP OPTIONS message to the remote terminal, and update the cache according to the new capabilities returned in the 200 OK response. However, if a SIP error message is received instead of a 200 OK, the terminal shall refresh its cache in accordance with the error code, e.g. reset the cache completely if the error code indicates that this is a non-IMS terminal/end user.
      • 2. Receiving a SIP Invitation with new capabilities
      • A received SIP session invitation request (SIP INVITE) includes capabilities that are not in the current cache of the called user terminal. This could happen due to the calling terminal having temporarily or permanently upgraded his or her terminal by, for example, downloading a more capability rich client. The calling terminal might first have checked the cached capability data for the called terminal and determined that that terminal supports the service which the called terminal wishes to initiate (prior to the upgrade, the calling terminal might not have understood the function of the relevant capabilities). This approach requires that the receiving terminal always compare received capabilities with cached capabilities.
      • The invited end user terminal updates its cache with the new capabilities found in the SIP INVITE message.
      • 3. Refresh when receiving a capability query.
      • This could arise due to a remote end user having purchased a brand new terminal, with the need to construct a cache at that terminal, whilst a remote terminal currently holds in its cache capability information for the remote subscriber's old terminal. The receiving terminal caches the capabilities of the querying terminal if these are included in the SIP OPTIONS message or, if not, sends its own SIP OPTIONS message to the distant terminal and acts upon the response.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 2 is a flow diagram illustrating this method of maintaining the capability cache up to date, where capability exchange utilises the SIP OPTIONS method. FIG. 3 illustrates the alternative approach where capability exchange is performed using the SIP INVITE message.
  • [0052]
    The inventive principle outlined here can be applied to other protocols, for example the H.324 multimedia telephony standard defined by the ITU. In particular it can be applied to the 3G-324m standard which is based upon H.324 and which is designed to support the real-time communication of wireless multimedia services over existing circuit-switched wireless networks. 3G-324m includes a mechanism for identifying to the participating terminals the session parameters that the terminals are capable of using during the call session. These session parameters, which include terminal capabilities, can be cached following the first establishment of a connection between terminals. As described above in respect of SIP, a number of events can be defined which will trigger a cache refresh.
  • [0053]
    Whilst the above discussion has been concerned with the establishment of a SIP call following the establishment of a CS call, the invention provides a mechanism for reducing the signalling associated with all SIP calls, regardless of whether or not they are initiated after a CS call. It might thus be advantageous to store third party SIP addresses together, or instead of, telephone numbers in a terminal's cache. This would provide a means for obtaining peer capability data in the event that a SIP call is initiated using a SIP address (rather than a telephone number).
  • [0054]
    It will be appreciated by the person of skill in the art that various modifications may be made to the above described embodiments without departing from the scope of the present invention.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification709/203
International ClassificationH04L29/06, H04L29/08, G06F15/16
Cooperative ClassificationH04L67/303, H04L29/06027, H04L65/1069
European ClassificationH04L29/08N29T, H04L29/06C2, H04L29/06M2S1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 25, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: TELEFONAKTIEBOLAGET LM ERICSSON (PUBL), SWEDEN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:STILLE, MATS;TYSTAD, FREDRIK;REEL/FRAME:016921/0492
Effective date: 20050311
Apr 3, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: TELEFONAKTIEBOLAGET LM ERICSSON (PUBL), SWEDEN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:STILLE, MATS;TYSTAD, FREDRIK;REEL/FRAME:017701/0421
Effective date: 20051108
Oct 3, 2016FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4